Revealed – Government Art Collection

Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery
Gas Hall


This is a current show on in the Gas Hall of Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery that I went to visit. Photographs were not allowed, so therefore instead I drew birds eye view diagrams of the layout of the show instead.

Section 1


When I walked through the Gas Hall doors I chosen to walk and start at the left hand side of the show. In the middle of the room there was a  freestanding wall going across diagonally. In front of the wall (but not directly in front) facing myself was a plinth, and on the right hand side of the wall (directly next to and touching it) there was another plinth; both plinths had sculptures on them.
As I walked around the wall, straight ahead and to the right was a piece of work ‘Peas are the New Beans’, 1999, Bob and Roberta Smith. This piece is really high up so that the top of the piece is at the top of the wall, this I felt required the viewers to participate in viewing the piece and interact, because I personally had to tilt my head backwards and look up to even be able to view it; which shows that there’s not a set ‘eye level’ height within the show. On the other side of the diagonal wall, there was a sculpture coming of it and attached, showing that sculptures weren’t only displayed on plinths.

Section 2


I walk into the next section of the show after walking completely around the diagonal wall and turning left. Straight ahead of me and attached to the right hand side wall was a flat screen television that in which played a video. Again, like section 1, there was a freestanding wall in the middle of the room. On the left hand side of the wall, equally in the center between the left wall and the freestanding wall was a plinth that had a glass bottle and what appeared to be a ship inside, ‘Nelson’s Ship in a Bottle’, 2009, Yinka Shonibare.  Like the other section, there are various pieces of art on the walls, and again there is another sculpture piece that comes off the wall opposite the plinth with the boat on it. I walk left around the wall to another plinth in the center with a sculpture on it.

Section 3


This section which lead on from the right hand side of the free standing wall and to the right again of section 2. This looked like a bit of an exhibition corridor as it was longer and narrower than the other sections. It had a few pieces of art on the walls, that was pretty much it apart from on the left hand side in the center as you walk down the is another section (section 4), as well as the one at the top end of the section (section 5).

Section 4


As I walked into this section, walking left from section 3, I felt that the lights were a tiny bit dimmer, but this could have been the fact that there was a projection involved this time, so this would make things clearer for the viewers. There were two benches in front of the projected video. The video was projected straight onto the wall and included sound. There are another two benches in the center of the room on the left and right side of a table, the table had books on it. As well as this there are also tables with glass covers that were against 3 of the walls; there was one against the left wall, 3 straight ahead at the top wall and one against the right wall. These tables were almost like displays and was an interesting way of displaying; displayed in them were texts, photographs and books.

Section 5


I walked from section 4 back into section 3, turned left and into section 5. Again, like section 1 and 2 there was a freestanding wall. As I walk to the left side of the wall behind it there is a plinth with a sculpture on it, and more to the right hand side behind the wall is another plinth that is wooden (which looks odd compared to all the others I had seen); this plinth had two sets of headphones resting on the top of it, and at either side of the plinth were two red cushioned wooden chairs that were quite fancy, in which I felt connected with the theme. In the right hand side corner of what is a diagonal wall coming in, there were six flat screened televisions on tall stands in a semi circle playing videos on them that were rather comical.

Section 6


As I walk all the way around the freestanding wall of section 5, going right and then left I come to section 6.  Continuing with the diagonal wall on the left from section 5, but in this section the wall is coming out instead of going in. There is a bench in the center of the room, rather lonely and out in the open I felt. Nearer to the far wall, more to the left hand side was a rather colourful piano, Prepared Pianola for Roger Banister, 2012, Mel Brimfield. This piece was to crown ‘the unique works that the GAC has commissioned over the past 60 years’. This piece played upon interaction automatically, it was extremely loud to the point where you were vibrating from the floorboards, and you could hear it from other places within the exhibition, it gave the whole show an exciting type of atmosphere I felt.

Section 7


Section 7 was the one in the very center of the show in the middle of all of the other sections. This was possibly one of my personal favorites alongside section 6. It felt more hectic I must say, the walls are crammed with work, and it seemed that there was almost a variety of work from each of the other sections put together. The work was shown at all different heights, whether it be high of low. There were 3 plinths all together, not really put in any specific place I think, a bit random like how the works were displayed on the wall. One of the plinths had a flat screened television showing one of the videos I saw in section 5. The only thing that seemed to be precise were the two benches in the center of the room between the left and right walls.


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